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Fairfield -- Burrwood House

Object Details

sova.aag.gca_ref21470
GUID
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/kb62d079c91-495d-41e4-93a3-201a7b9220b8
Varying Form
Whitehead Estate, formerly known as.
General
Burrwood House is a historically significant house and gardens that has been owned by three generations of families since it was built in 1812. It evolved as a working farm under the Burr family, to a gentleman's farm with exquisite gardens in the 1940s with the Whitehead family (with gardens designed by the Ortloff and Raymore), to a genteel country home and gardens after being rescued from demolition by the current family.
When purchased by the current owners in 1997 the Greek revival farmhouse built in 1812 and twentieth century additions, outbuildings, and formal gardens installed by subsequent owners were in a dilapidated state, and development plans for the entire 15-acre property were in dispute. The house and original barn were granted historic status by the state but not legal protection. However when they bought the house and 2.3 acres the owners and developer agreed to save the house and not change its footprint, keep 3,500 feet of existing stone walls, protect 20 mature specimen trees, and preserve significant open space for wildlife. The owners, English ex-pats from the Cotswold region, determined they would blend the trees with understated English perennial gardens with unstructured borders, swathes of perennials beds in pastel colors, and hardscape salvaged from other parts of the estate before it was developed. Work has been ongoing for twenty years, first critical repairs and restoration, then new projects as dictated by nature. Trees that were damaged by storms or diseased, grown too big for their location or too close to the house were removed. Overgrown rhododendron and azalea foundation plantings in front of the house were replaced with more formal boxwood and hollies. Many trees were planted for privacy along the new property lines, including ironwood, laurel, and pine. Dry stone walls softened with climbing hydrangea, post and rail fences and deer fencing were installed.
A red barn for cows built in the 1950's was rebuilt as a garage for classic English cars with two bays around a central dog trot that leads to a raised bed vegetable garden. Rhododendron surrounding rear terraces were replaced with boxwood hedges and perennial beds. A bluestone paved island bed with a statue was built on the site of a defunct pond, and is encircled by more boxwood and flowering perennials. An unsightly greenhouse was replaced with a metal roofed summerhouse used for entertaining, a dense bank of rhododendron was removed and replaced with a patio and perennial bed planted with hyssop and ferns, and an arbor overweighted by wisteria was removed. Gravel with cobblestone edging was laid for the driveway, and gravel walkways were put down in the vegetable garden and leading to the wildlife preserve.
Persons associated with the garden include Lewis and Maritta Burr (former owner, 1812-1867); Burr family members (former owners, 1867-1946); Mather and Elizabeth Whitehead (former owners, 1946-1997); Henry Stuart Ortloff (1896-1967) and Henry Bond Raymore (1895-1984) (landscape architects, 1947); Charles Cameron Clark (1887-1957) (architect, 1947); Paolo Vicente (architect house and outbuilding, 2004 and 2008).
Former owner
Whitehead, Elisabeth
Architect
Vincente, Paolo
Former owner
Whitehead, Mather
Burr family
Landscape designer
Ortloff, H. Stuart (Henry Stuart), 1896-
Raymore, Henry B. (Henry Bond)
Architect
Clark, Cameron
Provenance
Sasqua Garden Club
Collection Creator
Garden Club of America
Place
Burrwood House (Fairfield, Connecticut)
United States of America -- Connecticut -- Fairfield -- Fairfield
Topic
Gardens -- Connecticut -- Fairfield
Former owner
Whitehead, Elisabeth
Architect
Vincente, Paolo
Former owner
Whitehead, Mather
Burr family
Landscape designer
Ortloff, H. Stuart (Henry Stuart), 1896-
Raymore, Henry B. (Henry Bond)
Architect
Clark, Cameron
Provenance
Sasqua Garden Club
See more items in
The Garden Club of America collection
The Garden Club of America collection / Series 1: United States Garden Images / Connecticut
Sponsor
A project to describe images in this finding aid received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care Initiative, administered by the National Collections Program.
Custodial History
The Sasqua Garden Club facilitated the submission of this garden's documentation.
Archival Repository
Archives of American Gardens
Identifier
AAG.GCA, File CT754
Type
Archival materials
Collection Citation
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, The Garden Club of America collection.
Collection Rights
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Bibliography
This property is featured in "American English" by Ann Kaiser, published in at home in Fairfield County, Moffly Media Magazine, March/ April 2015, pp. 84-97; "English Sentiment," published in Fairfield Living, Moffly Media Magazines, March/April 2015, pp. 67-71.
Scope and Contents
1 folder and 37 digital images (which include digital reproductions of historic maps and photographs). The folder includes worksheets, photocopies of articles, illustrated description of house and garden renovation, and owners' garden diary for one year.
Collection Restrictions
Access to original archival materials by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Related Materials
Additional materials located in Fairfield History Center Library in Fairfield Connecticut and at the Yale University Library in New Haven, Connecticut.
AAG.GCA_ref21470
Large EAD
AAG.GCA
AAG
Record ID
ebl-1643208220039-1643210177528-1
Fairfield -- Burrwood House
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